Last summer, I took one of my stellar red cabbages from the garden, and for the first time made pickled red cabbage – one mid-sized cabbage producing six 250-ml jars. Not only was I impressed by how far a single vegetable could go in food storage – but in the last three months I’ve become a bit of an addict for this condiment. Tacos, sandwiches, curries, burgers – this stuff really goes well with pretty much everything – which explains how we ran out in mid-January, still several months away from garden season.
On the plus side, cabbage isn’t pricey, and while it’s difficult to source local cabbage at this time of year, I was willing to make do with California-imported veggies in order to escape the fate of having to purchase cabbage pickle in the deli (expensive prospect at the rate we go through it). With one over-sized cabbage last week, and less than an hour of time, I put by another 5 500-ml jars and 6-250 ml jars which should get us through. This is probably the simplest pickle of all to make – though you do have to prep 24 hours before you want to actually make the pickle.
Recipe: Pickled Red Cabbage (adapted from Kitchn)
Pickling Spice to taste (Make your own out of bay leaf, cinnamon, mustard seed, cumin seed, black pepper and a few crushed chilli peppers)
Pickling Vinegar or regular White Vinegar (about 3/4 cup per jar)
1) Core and slice your cabbage. Make sure to get the thick white veins out – the larger the cabbage the thicker the veins and they don’t do so well in this pickle. Slice the cabbage thinly thinking about what texture, shape you would like your condiment to have.
2) Put your cabbage in a crock or a large bowl, sprinkle with salt (a few tablespoons, it’s up to you) and put a plate on top. Weight down the plate and leave for 24 hours. When you return to your cabbage there should be a fair amount of purple water in the bottom of the vessel. Pour the cabbage into a strainer and push to get any remaining water out.
3) Sterilize your jars – 15 minutes in boiling water. Run some hot water and soak your canning seals for a couple of minutes.
4) Prepare your vinegar mixture. 10 cups of vinegar to 6 tablespoons of pickling spice. Bring to a boil.
5) Pack your jars full of cabbage, leaving a 1/2 inch at the top – you can really cram it in because it shrinks somewhat with the pickling liquid. Once you have got the jars full of cabbage, top them up with the pickling liquid, ensuring that the vegetable is completely covered.
6) Put the canning seals and lids on, leave to cure for six days and it’s ready to eat.
Seriously, canning doesn’t get easier or more delicious than this – and I love the look of the bright purple jars on grey winter days.